On Thursday, Walt Disney World Resort advised that in the wake of the tragic death of the toddler snatched by an alligator on its premises, it will be undergoing a “swift and thorough review” of the protocols on their grounds, especially as it relates to the placement and wording of the signs at that location. They said the new signs would have explicit warnings about alligators that swim in the waterways at the resort.
Vice President of Walt Disney World Resort Jacquee Wahler released a statement to the effect earlier today.
“All of our beaches are currently closed, and we are conducting a swift and thorough review of all of our processes and protocols. This includes the number, placement and wording of our signage and warnings.”
The incident in question occurred on Tuesday night when 2-year-old Lane Graves was reportedly playing in what was barely a foot of water in a lake near Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at about 9:16 p.m. when he was grabbed by an alligator and pulled underwater right in front of his horrified parents. Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said that the boy’s father attempted to save him but unfortunately was not able to. The body of the toddler was later recovered from the bottom of that lake.
— CW6 San Diego (@CW6SanDiego) June 16, 2016
Nine alligators were killed before the toddler’s body was recovered. The animals were cut open in an attempt to figure out which one of them had been the culprit who snatched the boy. The Miami Herald advised that the 2-year-old’s body was found six-feet deep in the water, only 15 yards from the shore.
The body was recovered by a dive team and an autopsy was conducted to establish the exact cause of death. On Thursday, the Orange County Medical Examiner said the examination was completed and that Lane’s cause of death was “drowning and traumatic injuries.”
The Walt Disney World Resort has come under fire following the incident from persons stating that they should have taken more steps to ensure that the public were aware of the exact dangers that the lake posed to them. While the resort currently has “No Swimming” signs at the lagoon, there was no indication about the fact that alligators were a possible threat.
The Orlando Sentinel also went on to state that the signs near the 172-acre lake read “Do not play or swim.” There has still been a serious question raised about safety at the resort. Many tourists have actually come forward following the incident to relay their own stories about alligator sightings at the resort and have questioned why it is that more was not done by the Disney resort to warn visitors about the gators. One employee also told the media that he had proposed to management that the area at the Grand Floridian should be fenced off.
Disney World president George Kalogridis had been at the opening of Disney’s new resort in Shanghai but immediately returned to Orlando when advised of the toddler’s death. The Chief Executive Officer at Walt Disney Co., Bob Iger, has also spoken with Lane’s family.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 16, 2016
Officials advised that monitoring and getting rid of alligators in the lakes is a difficult task as the property has an interconnected network of canals. Nonetheless, the lack of proper signs is the argument that is really being used against the resort.
The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is close to the resort, only a few miles east of Disney World, and while they have a similar lagoon and therefor the same alligator monitoring issue, they have warning signs. The shoreline has signs that read “No Swimming” as well as more specific ones explicitly advising of alligators.
“Beware. Please be Aware of Alligators in the Lake.”